Meet the OEB22 Speakers: Keynote Rikke Toft Nørgård

Rikke is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University’s School of Education and coordinator for the MA in ICT-based educational design in Denmark. She is involved with countless pedagogical and humanitarian projects, is an active member of multiple higher education societies and is a board member of the Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Society. Rikke has an impressive background in both EdTech and the humanities, and we are delighted about her involvement in the OEB Conference in November. Meet the person behind the speaker with this exclusive interview with Rikke.

Who, or what, was your most important teacher?

As a child, it was nature, the sun, the earth, my family and the farm where I grew up. As a tween, it was stacks and stacks of books, comics, music and my Commodore 64, and as a young person, it was poetry, photography and the people who believed in me as a person.

What was your most important lesson?

You don’t need to have a plan for your future as long as you are able to follow your heart and have faith in the future – The heart might change its mind multiple times and the future might be unexpected – And the future and your heart might take you to unexpected places. But those places will have meaning and value – As long as your future has a wide horizon and not a narrow path. Or, put in more ‘nihilistic’ terms – Nothing matters (that much) besides living a life worth living and having fun along the way…and you are the only one that gets to decide what that means and how that looks for you.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

To be an empathic designer for others (with a focus on compassion and care) or a hermit on my own (with a pile of books).

A genie gives you three wishes — what are they?

I would be very ‘child-like’ and wish for a world without pollution, then wish for a world without war…and then wish for an infinite number of wishes to keep on wishing my child-like wishes.

What current learning trend do you think will have a lasting impact?

Learning for sustainability – both in the environmental and the human sense of the word. And with imaginative thinking in relation to how technological possibilities and our ingenuity might help the planet, all species and humans in having lives worth living and take care of and have compassion for each other. Or, (technological) imagination, ingenuity and innovation beyond the socio-economic paradigm.

Which technology, in your view, had the biggest influence on the way we learn now?

That’s not hard. The internet.

What is the coolest gadget / technology / tool you have seen lately?

All the amazing tools for communicating, co-creating and materialising new ideas, thoughts, and designs with – like digital jamboards, prototyping tools, mindmaps, whiteboards etc – these new tools give new opportunities in hybrid and online teaching and learning that goes well beyond talking and listening and for working together across time, space, materials and institutional barriers.

Who would you recommend in the Learning World to follow on social media right now?

Some of the people that have inspired me (both as academics and humans) like Sian Bayne, Peter Goodyear, Maha Bali, Yishay Mor, Thomas Ryberg, Nina Bonderup Dohn, Neil Selwyn, Diana Laurillard, Tim Fawns – and inspiring societies and collectives such as PaTHES, Hybrid Pedagogy or the Centre for Higher Education Futures.

What would be the title of your autobiography?  

‘WOW – That was a bit crazy but fun!’

What was your first thought about our overall theme, “Re-Imagining our Vision for Learning”?

That this is a good time for (re)imagining new possibilities, creating wider futures and having deeper values and bolder visions for how education, teaching and learning might look. But that this must be done through a ‘Head of Janus’ approach – i.e. with one head facing the past and one head facing the future. We should re-connect with deep philosophical and theoretical foundations within higher education and through this re-imagine strange, daring, common, compassionate and worthwhile futures.

What do you hope to take away from OEB?

I look to OEB for glimpses of possible futures – Ideas that make my mind run wild – and, not least, wonderful people thinking, talking and exploring together in theory and through practice.

Thank you, Rikke. We look forward to learning more about your work and insights at OEB Global 2022.

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